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   Welcome to TSLMail #150 - Friday, November 5, 2004    
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   Tech Sports News

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A Closer Look at Some Offensive Stats
by Chris James,

While the 2004 Virginia Tech defense has been outstanding, it isnít difficult to see that the 2004 Virginia Tech offense has left a little to be desired. Quarterback Bryan Randall is putting up his normal statistics, but Tech doesnít have that power running game that they are used to.

Think back throughout the Beamer Bowl Era, and you will remember that Tech almost always has an NFL running back in the backfield. Ken Oxendine, Marcus Parker, Shyrone Stith, Lee Suggs, Kevin JonesÖevery one of those guys was drafted by the NFL, and they all were big time producers for the Hokies while they were in college. Take a look at the leading rushers and their statistics from the Beamer Bowl Era:

Running Back Stats, Beamer Bowl Era


Leading Rusher






Dwayne Thomas






Dwayne Thomas






Dwayne Thomas






Ken Oxendine






Ken Oxendine






Lamont Pegues






Shyrone Stith






Lee Suggs






Kevin Jones






Lee Suggs






Kevin Jones












Yearly Average





So whatís wrong this year? A couple of things. Number one, the offensive line isnít as good as in years past. Losing possibly the best offensive lineman in school history in Jake Grove will do that to a unit. Number two, and probably most importantly, Tech doesnít seem to have an NFL caliber running back on the depth chart this season. How many times have you found yourself thinking after a decent run, "Kevin Jones would have broken that."?

Mike Imoh has come in and done a very nice job for the Hokies this season. Imoh has rushed for 408 yards on 103 carries and 2 touchdowns, an average of 4.0 yards per carry. He has rushed for 81.6 yards per game.

Pull out your calculators, because itís time to do some math.

Using Imohís current average per game, he is on pace to rush for 734 yards during the course of the regular season. Throw in the bowl game, which is counted in season statistics now, and that number rises to 816 yards. (I rounded the .6 up to make it an even 82 yards per game in this case) That would be the lowest number of rushing yards by a starting tailback at Virginia Tech since Lamont Pegues in 1998, and they didnít count bowl game statistics back then. Just using Imohís 734 yards during the regular season and it will be the lowest since Dwayne Thomasí 673 yards in 1995.

However, Imoh was suspended for the first 3 games of the season against USC, Western Michigan and Duke. Had Imoh played in those 3 games and averaged his normal 81.6 yards per game, he would finish the regular season with 979 yards rushing. The bowl game would take the total rushing yardage up to 1061. Not a bad year for a guy that wasnít the projected starter.

The worst part about Imohís stat line is his 4.0 yards per carry average. That is the worst for a Virginia Tech starting running back since Ken Oxendine averaged 3.8 yards per carry in 1997. Ox was playing on a team that was limited even more offensively than the 2004 squad, if you can imagine that. That 1997 team had a patchwork offensive line (zero offensive linemen recruited in 1995 was taking its toll) and a quarterback in Al Clark who was never 100%. Add the early-season injury to Shawn Scales, Techís only play-making receiver, into the mix and youíve got the ingredients to a poor offense.

With Imohís size, or lack thereof, you would expect him to be the slice and dice type backÖone that doesnít initiate contact, but will run around you. Imoh doesnít quite fit that bill. He breaks a lot of tackles, more tackles than most 220 pound backs, and he is shifty. He just doesnít have the breakaway speed of a guy like Darren Sproles from Kansas State, who is very similar to Imoh physically.

If I had to compare him to any Tech back from the past, it would be Dwayne Thomas. My take on Imoh is that he is a solid back who is playing behind an average offensive line, and he lacks great speed. Imoh is fast, but heís not Kevin Jones fast. See what Iím getting at? Put him behind last yearís offensive line and Iíll bet he would be having a very good year right now.

While youíve got your mind on statistics, letís take a look at some more, specifically the receptions at the wide receiver position. The 2003 unit combined for 130 receptions, 1903 yards, 14.6 yards per catch and 14 touchdowns (DeAngelo Hall, Mike Imoh and Marcus Vick are included in this). Thus far, the 2004 group has combined for 65 catches for 1096 yards, 16.9 yards per catch and 10 touchdowns.

Breaking out the calculator yet again, we see that this yearís group is on pace to catch 106 passes for 1781 yards. They are also on pace to catch 16 touchdowns.

Wide Receiver Stats
















* Projected

So while this group isnít on pace to match last seasonís reception total (thatís what having 4 freshmen and no Ernest Wilford will do to a team), their yards per catch is higher and they are on pace to score more touchdowns than last yearís group. So while they havenít shown quite as much ability to get open and make as many catches, they appear to already show the knack for big plays.

Despite the fact that the receivers arenít quite as productive as last yearís group from a receptions stand point, Bryan Randall has found other places to go with the football. Jeff King has 14 receptions for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. In 2003, the tight ends combined for 16 receptions for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. Throw Jared Mazzetta and Duane Brown into the mix, and the 2004 unit has 24 catches for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns. The tight ends are picking up the slack big time for the offense, and their stats will only increase as the season goes along. They currently project to catch 39 passes for 564 yards and 5 TDs, big improvements over 2003 across the board. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Keys to the Game: North Carolina
by Raleigh Hokie, 11/5/04, 10:55 am
For the first time in 58 years, the Hokie nation prepares to invade Chapel Hill, North Carolina for a football clash with the Tar Heels. Hokie fans have been looking forward to this one since the schedule was announced, snatching up tickets from any and every avenue. These teams last played seven years ago in a Gator Bowl turned ugly for the Orange & Maroon, so Hokies everywhere have a score to settle with the Baby Blues.
in TSL Pass

A Hokie's Guide to Enjoying the Sights and Sounds of Chapel Hill
by Conor Gough, 11/4/04, 10:40 pm
The expectation is that many Virginia Tech fans will make the cross-state journey into North Carolina to cheer on the Hokies in this pivotal game. This article is intended to provide some insight on how Tech fans can best enjoy their time in Chapel Hill. As a Virginia Tech alumnus and current third-year UNC medical student, I have had the privilege of experiencing two of the best college town atmospheres in Blacksburg and Chapel Hill, and I am certain that Hokie fans will feel right at home enjoying all the festivities that Franklin Street has to offer.
in Voice of the Fan

North Carolina Game Preview
by Jeff Ouellet, 11/4/04, 2:00 pm
As soon as the Virginia Tech football schedule is released, I peruse it with interest and generally break the games down into separate categories. This seasonís clash with UNC I pegged as our ďGone FishiníĒ game; namely, the game in November where the opposition was more likely to be worried about catching bass than catching footballs. There were plenty of reasons to think that way: coming into this year UNC had lost 19 of its last 24 games, including a 2-10 season last year that culminated with the Tar Heelsí first loss to Duke since Steve Spurrier roamed the Blue Devil sideline. Ironically, that loss led many to speculate that Steve Superior would be the next coach of the Heels.
in Football Recruiting Report Archive, 11/3/04 (Audio)
by, 11/4/04, 12:00 pm
This week on the Recruiting Report, Mike Harris and Will Stewart talk a little hoops recruiting and VT basketball in general, then they discuss Hokie football and the impact of Xavier Adibi. Lastly, they review the Michael Vick - Lee Suggs recruiting class of 1998 (click here to access a list of 1998 signees). (Time: 32:49).
in TSL Pass

Georgia Tech Game Analysis
by Will Stewart,, 11/3/04, 2:45 pm
It has been six days since VT's big win over the GT Yellow Jackets, and it has been fashionable all week long to praise the team for not quitting, for hanging in there until the end, etc. Bryan Randall has been praised, Xavier Adibi's effect on the game has been duly noted, and the 80-yard and 51-yard TD passes have been dissected. It all leaves a certain web site GM with less and less to write about (since I go last), but I did uncover some fun and interesting stuff, including one astounding statistic that goes totally against what we know about the VT offense.
in TSL Pass

Tech Talk Tuesday (Audio) for 11/2/04
by, 11/3/04, 1:35 pm
Tonight's guests for Tech Talk Tuesday include VT defensive backs coach Whammy Ward and defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis. The gang goes over the Georgia Tech game and previews the matchup with North Carolina. (Psst: You'll never believe this, but the topic of painting the end zones comes up, too.)
in TSL Pass

The Great Race is On
by Jim Alderson, 11/3/04, 10:00 am
John Swofford did not seem to be joining in on the celebration. Following North Carolinaís improbable upset-for-the-ages win over Miami, the cameras of ESPN2 broke away from the wild celebration taking place on the field of Kenan Stadium. Viewers were treated to a shot of Tar Heel basketball coach Roy Williams savoring a moment that his program has not yet produced, a major upset. Alert observers noticed Swofford in the next booth, wearing a facial expression noticeably different from the wide grin stretching the face of Olí Roy. Swofford did not seem to be quite as thrilled at his alma materís improbable win.
in TSL Pass

Hokie Hotline Notes for 11/1/04
by Phil Noftsinger, 11/2/04, 11:25 am
Tonightís show was broadcast live from Beamerís restaurant in Christiansburg, VA. Guests for tonightís show included Charley Wiles, Jim Weaver, and Hokies head coach Frank Beamer. In the program, Roth dropped a bomb, with a quote about the Hokies football teams in the late 90ís by the Rutgers Athletic Director. Charley Wiles discussed the Hokies' upcoming matchup with UNCís explosive offense, and Frank Beamer discussed the response to the personal fouls and celebration penalties the Hokies have been receiving.
in Hotline Notes

Hokies Still Playing Great D
by Chris James,, 11/2/04, 1:15 am
After another dogfight with Georgia Tech on Thursday night in Atlanta, Virginia Tech continues be ranked among the nationís leaders in many of the major defensive categories. The Hokies have played good defense all year long and continued their strong play against the Yellow Jackets, especially in the second half.
in News and Notes

Revisiting the Keys: Georgia Tech
by Raleigh Hokie, 11/1/04, 11:40 am
Walking out of Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday night, I was replaying the last few minutes in my mind trying to figure out how the Hokies had pulled out a victory. Iím still not sure how they did it, given how everything had been going against them for most of the game. It was an instant classic for Hokies everywhere and, for me, the sudden, surprising, come-from-behind victory just added to an otherwise fun trip to the great city of Atlanta.
in TSL Pass

Staying Up Late
by Will Stewart,, 10/29/04, 3:00 pm
I didn't have to stay up until 3:00 a.m. last night writing up the TSL game report on VT's big win over the Yellow Jackets. I didn't have to try to capture every single twist and turn of the game. But every once in a while, you sense that you've just seen a game for the ages, and it's hard to shut things off and go to bed.
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